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Title:Whitehorse Cist, Dartmoor, Devon. Part 2. Project Design for Analysis
Originator:Cornwall Council Historic Environment Service
Summary:Excavation of the cist led to the recovery of a unique assemblage of Bronze Age organic objects and other artefacts including tin, amber and shale beads which is unparalleled in southern Britain. The state of preservation of the organic remains is considered to be exceptional and there is also good preservation of other environmental material including pollen, tephra and fungal spores. Future analysis of the latter will shed further light on environmental and climate conditions at the time of the burial. The cist is situated within a peat mound near the summit of Whitehorse Hill. It is at the southern end of a north-south ridge at about 604 metres Ordnance Datum and is one of the highest cists to be recorded on Dartmoor. The northern end of the ridge is occupied by a prominent turf and stone barrow known as Hangingstone Cairn. Prior to excavation in 2011 the exposed section of the cist measured up to 0.7 metres wide by 0.25 metres deep and 0.35 metres high. The cist comprised a flat granite base slab, 0.7 metres long by 0.48 metres wide around which several wedge-shaped granite stones were set upright within the peat. A large capstone, 0.79 by 0.66 metres lay on top. Analysis of samples taken from the peat mound within which the cist is set have shown that the peat at the level of the base of the cist was of Early to Middle Neolithic date (3650-3100 cal BC) whereas that level with the top of the cist was of Early Bronze Age date (2200-1890 cal BC). This suggests that either the cist was set in a trench cut into the Neolithic level or that it stood on the Neolithic ground surface and the peat grew up around it. The latter scenario is considered the more unlikely as the side and end stones would probably not have provided any long-term support for the capstone and would have collapsed before the peat built up around the cist.

Associated Monuments (1)

MDV66367Whitehorse Hill Cist (Monument)